Thandie Newton starred as Nyah Nordoff-Hall in the second instalment of action flick ‘Mission Impossible’ as the love interest of IMF secret spy Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise. The British actress, who featured in HBO’s ‘Westworld’, recently spoke out about the difficulties of filming scenes with the US actor. In unearthed accounts, Thandie revealed the devastating reason behind why she was able to land a role in the popular high-adrenaline film franchise.
Ahead of Thandie’s appearance in series four of ‘Line of Duty’, where she played Detective Chief Inspector Roz Huntley, she shed light on discrimination in the UK film and TV industry.
The London-born star told Metro in 2017 that she jumped at the chance to appear on British screens after she was forced to move to the US to make her name as an actress.
When her manager, who she had worked with from the age of 17, approached her with the BBC role she was delighted.
She recalled: “My agent said to me, ‘Thandie, an offer has come in and if you ever want to work in British television, this is it’… when she said something like that, I sat up.
“I didn’t know anything about the role but I said I wanted to do it. The first thing I saw was series three. I don’t watch a lot of television – because I have kids the only thing I watch is SpongeBob or Paw Patrol!”
The actress revealed the shocking reality of how few roles were available to people of colour and that it ultimately led her to pursue her aspirations in the US.
Since then, she starred with Tom Cruise in ‘Mission Impossible 2’, Brad Pitt in ‘Interview with the Vampire’ and a score of other Hollywood blockbusters.
Before the move, she faced an agonising decision because she longed to be a success in front of UK audiences.
Thandie said: “I don’t have the opportunity to work in Britain very much because there are a lot of period dramas and they often don’t have calls for women of colour so I went to Hollywood.”
Black Lives Matter marches have led a number of celebrities and public figures to share personal experiences of their treatment as part of a wider world conversation about prejudice, treatment and representation.
During an interview with Vulture, Thandie claimed to have quit a remake of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ because of how she was treated by producer Amy Pascal.
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The actress alleged that Ms Pascal began “reeling off stereotypes of how to be more convincing as a ‘Black character’” – which she has strongly denied.
Thandie also claimed that the producer thought they would need to rewrite the character, if she took the role, because the fictional person had gone to university and was educated.
Thandie alleged that Ms Pascal had suggested: “‘Maybe there could be a scene where you’re in a bar and [the character] gets up on a table and starts shaking her booty.’”
Ms Pascal rejected the claims in a statement, where she said she had taken “her words seriously” but had “no recollection of the events she describes”.
She continued: “Nor do any of her representatives who were present at that casting session.
“I’ve long considered Thandie a friend; I’m thankful that I’ve had the chance to make movies with her; and I hope to work with her again in the future.”